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Camino de Santiago, internationally known as The Way of St. James, is one of the most important pilgrimage places worldwide. The big interest in the route of St. James Way, to Santiago de Compostela, started with the discovery of the remains of the apostle Saint James the Greater. The final destination is located in the northwest of Spain, in the region of Galicia.

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Source: TripSavvy

Santiago de Compostela

The capital of Galicia lies in the northwest of the region. Santiago de Compostela is one of the most important and most famous pilgrimage places in Europe, receiving nowadays more than 300.000 international pilgrims every year.

One of the most popular rituals of the pilgrims is getting inside the crypt to see the coffin or to pray to St. James. Due to the high number of people visiting the sight, there is a problem of capacity and sometimes you have to wait for hours to access the interior.

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Source: pbase

History

The reason why Santiago de Compostela is such an important pilgrimage site dates back to the 9th century. In 814, when the tomb with the remains of the apostle James the Great was discovered for the first time. A chapel was constructed and years later the huge Catedral Santiago de Compostela should mark the place of discovery. This was the beginning of a big boom of pilgrimage to this place.

Nowadays many non-Christian tourists discovered the routes of Camino de Santiago. There is currently a trend of people following these routes just for enjoyment, sightseeing in combination with nature, sports, or seeking for a new challenge or as a way of self-discovery.

The routes of Camino de Santiago

Various places in Spain, as well as in Europe are known as starting points for the St. James Way. Even though no official way exist, there are some main routes, followed by pilgrims. All ways heading the same final destination – Santiago de Compostela. Below find the most popular ways starting in Spain and Portugal:

The French Way (Camino Francés)

The most popular way, one with some of the deepest historical roots starts in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees and stretches over 780km until Santiago de Compostela. Over 60% of all pilgrims choose this route, which includes the major cities Pamplona, Logroño, Burgos and León.

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Source: Schatz & Schatz

The Northern Route (Camino del Norte)

Stretching alone the northern coast of Spain, this route begins in the Basque country in Irún. It is a rather less popular route compared to others. Several parts of the way require hiking, which makes it more difficult for some people. It follows the old Roman way and passes by some important cities like San Sebastian, Gernika, Bilbao, and Oviedo.

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Source: Camino Ways

The Portuguese Way (Camino Portugués)

It is the second most popular path after the French Way. This route has 3 possible starting points. The farthest one is Lisbon, followed by Porto and then by Tui, a city next to the Spanish – Portuguese border at the north.

Proof of walking

The very first pilgrims who walked the whole route proofed their accomplishment by taking scallop shell as sign with them. Nowadays, pilgrims can buy a special passport and afterwards a certificate, proofing you went by foot or by bike. The passport is used to show evidence of either walking at least 100 km or of the way or going by bike for at least 200 km. To proof the walk/ride with your passport, you have to get a stamp from churches, town halls or other official establishments on your way to Santiago. Arrived at the final destination, people can get their certificate at the Pilgrims Office. The Compostela certificate is an original religious certificate written in Latin.

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Source: Keen on Asuncion

For whatever reason you want to accomplish the walking of the route, we put together the best packages for the New Year for you. Just contact us and ask for more information. We are happy to serve you with all kind of questions you might have about our Camino de Santiago packages.

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What would you say if we tell you we have the perfect programs to train like a professional, grow as a team and get out of your comfort zone? What would be your answer if we tell you that limits are for the others and that you are meant for something bigger? If you are ready for the best training camps in Spain, you better keep reading.

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source: Laois County Council

While Spain is one of the most pleasant tourist destinations in Europe, the reasons for its many professional athletes such as Rafael Nadal and the National Football team are neither the beaches nor the picturesque villages. Instead, the diverse scenery of Spain and top facilities all over Spain offer the perfect mixture to train like a beast.

Our training camps focusing on football, hockey, swimming and tennis are located on strategic places to not only offer the best facilities to athletes and an incredible experience, but also a landscape to relax after the hard work-out.

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source: Hockey Travel

Whether you are professional or amateur– we have training camps options depending on your discipline in Alicante, Valencia, Lloret de Mar, Salou, Terrassa, Vic and Sabadell for you! While our football training camps can be found in Alicante, Valencia, Lloret de Mar, Salou, Terrassa and Vic, the swimming training camps are centered in Sabadell. Tennis and hockey training camps are offered in Terrassa. All our training camps are perfect to build teamwork, set your mind and boost your performance. No matter if you prefer staying not far from a large city but with the advantages of staying in a quiet area or in the city itself– we make sure the facilities are not too crowded for your intensive morning and afternoon training. Finish off your training camp with a friendly match against locals to learn more about their strategies, compare yourself and have fun!

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source: Injury Rehab Centre

Our programs include modern and functional hotels which are not only experienced in handling sport groups in order to provide you with the best comfort, but also close to top facilities to not lose time training!

Train with us and we promise you, we have everything what your athlete’s heart could have ever asked for: from great equipped fitness centres to FIFA sized natural grass pitches, from outstanding grass hockey courts to the best indoor and outdoor Olympic swimming pools, from carpet paddle tennis courts to relaxing thermal facilities, … everything is set up for your work-out!

No matter if you are a football fan or a tennis fanatic, a professional swimmer or an amateur hockey player– we have the perfect training camp for you! Contact us now to get more information about our training camp programs and get ready for the next season with us!

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You are craving for a Hollywood-like food fight and your heart beats faster when thinking about the fruity smell of tomatoes being all over you? Well than you better keep reading, because we have the non-plus-ultra festival for you!

La Tomatina, one of the most famous festivals of Spain, is hosted every year on the last Wednesday of August in Buñol. Thousands of people from all over the world come together to throw millions of over-ripe tomatoes at each other, enjoy a great party and, most importantly, have the time of their lives!

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source: Love Valencia

While nobody knows exactly when and where the idea of having a food fight in the centre of a town developed, the most common rumor is about a food fight between friends which escalated in 1945. As some youngsters remembered the event and repeated the messy festival the year after, La Tomatina was forbidden by the city council and local police in the early 50s. After countless protests and imprisonments, the festival became an official festivity of Buñol in 1957 and is loved by everybody ever since then: while in the first years visitors were mainly from Spain, people from all over the world join the festival nowadays.

Prepare yourself for the 30th of August because nobody is going to stay clean! La Tomatina starts at 11 AM and for an hour, you are fighting for yourself against everybody else. Officially, the battle doesn’t start before somebody has climbed a high pole to get the coveted ham at the top. However, the fired water cannons are signal enough to start the fight! While the cleaning progress of the streets is great organized by the city council, only a few public showers are offered and most people find themselves cleaning their clothes in the river.

We won’t lie to you – La Tomatina is a mess, a funny mess, tho. To enjoy the festival to the fullest wear old clothes and closed shoes you are not sad throwing away afterwards. Moreover, leave valuable stuff at home and be respectful with others! One last tip from the professionals: Tuck your shirt into your shorts to always have a clean part to wipe your eyes with!

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source: Flores y plantas

You can read as much as you want about La Tomatina – you will never know how it actually feels like being involved in the biggest food fight of the world when you don’t participate. Book now to join us for THE event of the year because tickets are limited and hotels and hostels in Buñol and surrounding often fully booked out weeks before the event happens! Believe us: you will have the time of your life!

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“When we reached the battlefield it was already purple and full of empty wine cartons. The sun was unrelenting and it was hard to differentiate between friends and enemy because out there – there are no rules.” It sounds like it is time for the battle of the year again, because the battle of wine is back in Haro and we are thirstier than ever for red wine!

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source: decanter

Originating from the days back in the 13th century when the city Haro had to defend itself against its neighbors in Miranda de Ebro to stay independent, the battle of wine is a hundreds of years old tradition. After a mass on the 29th of June in 1710, the first battle of wine occurred at the Bilibio cliffs and ever since then, people celebrate this day with pouring wine on each other.

Even though, the festivity is celebrated on the Feast Day of St Peter, you will barely find a local being aware of this Feast Day. The so-called Battle of Wine, known as Batalla del Vino in Spanish is all about wine, people and drinking and has made the small city Haro in La Rioja world famous.

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source: The Independent

Although, the battle of wine is the most important act of the festival, the celebrations are going on for almost a week, starting on Saturday night with wine, fun and partying. Meet up with your friends at the town square, the centre of the celebrations on Saturday to drink, eat and enjoy the great vibes.

The actual battle is on the 29th of June and you have to get up early to participate: starting with a procession at 7 AM at the cliffs of Bilibio like in the old days, the crowd continues to the “battlefield of wine” right afterwards. Take a bus for the first part of the road and prepare yourself to walk the last kilometre as the buses cannot turn there.

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source: Tasting Europe

No rules are set during the fight: Whether you want to use buckets, wineskins or sprayers; as long as it can hurl thousands of liters of wine all over the crowd it is perfect for the fight. Bear in mind that the battle is like a playground to locals: no matter how hard you hit them, they know thousands of ways to get you back even worse. Survive the battle by wearing googles – red wine can be painful and remember that you are a guest during this festivities: the festival is made by locals and for locals and while there are already a lot of tourists, the battle of wine has not lost its original flair yet.

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source: Daily Mail

At midday, when everybody is purple from head to toe and it is sure that nobody can get rid of the smell for the next few days, the crowd heads back to Plaza de la Paz to celebrate with great food and more wine. Finish off the day with a bullfight in the arena whereby no animal is killed!

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source: Decanter.com

It is no surprise that the festival is celebrated in Haro where 40 % of the entire La Rioja region’s vineyards are situated and wine is running though the veins of the locals. However, there are more must-sees in Spain for wine lovers. To give examples, Ribera de Duero and the region Valdepeñas are world famous for their long history of producing quality wine.

No matter if it’s the dirty wine battle or a classy wine route which fascinate you – Spain offers both. Contact us now to get more information about our wine programs and fall in love with the unique taste of Spanish quality wine when traveling to one of the most famous wine regions in the world!

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Forget everything you’ve ever heard about how to celebrate the beginning of summer and imagine yourself on an endless beach lighted up by thousands of bonfires under the moonlight. Imagine how it must feel like dancing and drinking through the shortest night of the year together with good friends and completely strangers. Pure magic! What sounds like building castles in the sky is a wide-spread tradition throughout Spain’s coastline.

The Bonfire of San Juan is one of the biggest festivals in Spain and takes place in dozens of towns of the country. What most people don’t know: this celebration does not only start the summer off bright but is also the official beginning of local festivals in Spain. While the festivity of bonfires of San Juan is getting more important the closer to the sea you get, the celebrations are nowhere bigger than around Alicante which is during these days full of bonfires, fireworks, music, dancing and great food.

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source: donquijote.org

The “Hogueras de San Juan” are celebrated from the 21st to the 24th of June, reaching its peak on the 23rd of June, the day before the Feast Day of Saint John the Baptist. While Christians honor Saint John the Baptist during this festival, many others believe in the protection against evil spirits and witches through the bonfires. Having its origin hundreds of years ago, the celebrations were formally constituted in 1928 and are nowadays Alicante’s biggest festival.

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source: Magek Spa

Although, Hogueras de San Juan is not starting before the 21st of June, preparations for the awe-inspiring bonfires begin on the 19th of June to ensure the greatest festival of the year. The days from the 21st to the 24th of June are packed with events: every morning at 8 AM, the streets are full of noise and clamoring, continuing with incredible loud firecrackers at 2 PM and bullfights at 7 PM. True to the slogan “sleep when you’re dead”, party animals celebrate every night from 11 PM to 6 AM in the morning. Outstanding parades (Street Band Parade on the 21st and International Folklore Parade on the 23rd of June), dressed up women called Beauty or queen of the festival and exuberant atmosphere make the festival to one of the most amazing festivals to visit.

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source: Veoapartment

All major traditions during this festival like jumping over the bonfire three times, running into the sea at midnight and washing your face with perfumed water carry basically the same message: to be cleansed and purified for the upcoming year and to burn/wash problems away. Beside these leading customs, regional traditions such as placing three potatoes (peeled, un-peeled and half peeled) underneath the bed and hoping to pull out the un-peeled one as it means good health and prosperity, sharing hot chocolate and throwing dolls into fire are of great importance for Spaniards. Probably the most curious tradition is the so called fire walk where young men try to cross the hot coals at midnight without getting burned.

No place is more exciting and spectacular during La Fiesta de San Juan than Alicante. Reserve your spot NOW with Across Spain and ask for our festival programs, to experience how traditional Christian, Catholic and Pagan rituals and beliefs can make up a remarkable festival!

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